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Dolhestii Mari Church

Bucovina Map - Dolhestii Mari Church

Year Built: 1481
Built by: Şendrea family
Location: Dolheştii Mari, Suceava County
Summary: The characteristic feature of the church is the presence of two tall niches with pointed arches on each longitudinal wall. In the pronaos, these lateral niches were used for the tombs of the founder’s family. Only the tombstone of Maria Şendrea, the sister of Stephen the Great, is still legible.

Dolhestii Mari Church

The Church of Dolhestii Mari seen from the south.

Fifteen km east from Fălticeni, on the way to Probota, is the village of Dolheştii Mari. The village belonged to boyar Şendrea in 1395, as the first document that mentions its existence specifies. On the right side of the road stands a simple white church. At the west end of the building is a bell tower above the entrance hall, but these are a later addition. The church is the oldest still existing church in Moldavia that was founded by a nobleman It was built as the private chapel of the boyar Şendrea, in the same compound with his feudal court.

Dolhestii Mari Church

General view of the south wall of the pronaos.

AThe absence of a commemorative inscription prevents us from knowing the exact date of its construction. During the last 50 years, researchers have constructed a series of hypotheses on the dating of the church, taking also into account the history of the Şendrea family.
The chronicle of the country mentions that the hero of Râmnic was buried in the church of Dolheştii Mari, together with his father. This fact suggests the church was built at least one generation before 1481, and the stylistic features of the edifice sustain this idea.
The church belongs to an archaic type, with features taken from provincial Gothic architecture. It has a rectangular ground plan, with a polygonal five-sided east apse. In the Byzantine tradition, the sides of the polygon were visible only outside and the apses were semicircular inside. Here in Dolheştii, also the interior of the apse is polygonal, as is common to the Gothic style.

Dolhestii Mari Church

The west niche on the south wall of the pronaos.

What makes the church of Dolheştii unique, are the blank whitewashed walls that are broken with colourful painting in only two places, both in the pronaos. One is the western niche of the south wall, and the other is the icon of St. Parasceva, the patron saint of the church, painted on a lunette above the doorway that leads to the naos.
The painting in the niche of the south wall is absolutely uncommon, the choice of themes for this part of the church is not found in any other church in Moldavia.


Address: Dolhestii Mari, 727185,Suceava County
Phone: + 40 (230) 204746/18

Bucovina Travel Guide